On January 18, 1958 Fredericton, NB’s Willie O’Ree stepped onto the ice
at the Montreal Forum and became the first black to play in the NHL. As
a member of the Boston Bruins being black wasn’t the only challenge for
Willie, he also was blind in his right eye. A fact he kept hidden from
management and his fellow players. Willie played over 1,200 games as a
professional in the NHL and Western Hockey League.
Willie presently works with the NHL/USA Diversity Task Force and in
Youth Development. He has also served as a role model for many present
day NHLers such as Jarome Iginla and Anson Carter.
Willie has been recognized in his adopted hometown of San Diego and just
recently received a standing ovation at an NHL game in St Louis as part
of Diversity Week. He also was asked to carry the Olympic Torch as part
of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.
Despite being recognized elsewhere the City of Fredericton, New
Brunswick has done next to nothing to honor Willie. The present Mayor of
Fredericton, Les Hull, when a Provincial Cabinet Minister was involved
in having Willie inducted into the New Brunswick Hall of Fame – this
brings with it an automatic listing on the Fredericton Wall of Fame.
There are a number of us who feel that the City of Fredericton has not
done enough for Willie O’Ree and are suggesting that a Statue, Bust,
Street Name or the old York Arena (where many old timers got their
start) be renamed in his honor. It has also been suggested that a local
fredericton artist be commissioned to do the statue.
If you think Willie s Read more»
Jason Spezza Named OHL Player of the Week
Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Belleville Bulls
centre Jason Spezza is the OHL Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday
February 10, 2002. Spezza recorded three goals and five assists for eight
points in the Bulls’ lone game last week, an 8-2 win over the visiting
London Knights on February 9.
Spezza’s eight point game equaled a team record established by Dan Quinn in
1983 and equaled by Jason Lafreniere in 1985, co-incidentally also against
the Knights, and Brad Gratton in 1987.
In the 10 games since joining the Bulls in January, Spezza, the second
overall pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, has scored
11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points. He has been named OHL Player of the
Week three times this season, including January 29 when he scored 10 points
in three games for the Bulls.
Spezza, an 18-year-old native of Etobicoke, improved his season totals to 30
goals and 46 assists for 76 points in 37 games. He is currently tied for
seventh among OHL scorers this season.
Born: Etobicoke, ON, Birthdate: June 13, 1983
Position: Centre Shoots: Right
Height: 6.03 Weight: 200 lbs.
OHL – Mississauga’s 1st round choice, 1st overall, in 1999. Read more»
Winger Brad Church began the season down with the ECHL’s Richmond Renegades, but since he was called up, has continued to play some of the best hockey we have ever seen from him here in Portland. He works incredibly hard and knows how to get in the other team’s face without drawing an unnecessary penalty. The Pirates just finished a run of seven games in nine days and it was admirable to see Church continue working at 100% despite the visible fatigue the entire team was feeling.
When defensemen Dean Melanson joined the Pirates late last season, I used my usual wait-and-see approach. On paper, he looked to be a good match. But, as any hockey fan knows, past numbers and playing styles can also mean nothing. It did not take too long for me to decide that he was a good fit and I liked him a lot. When I read that the Capitals signed him to a proper contract over the summer, I was excited. I do not know what has happened, but he is not the same player he was last year, and play like we saw this weekend, especially from a team’s captain, is unexcusable. Dean Melanson can be a good player – he has proven this many times – but right now his play is sloppy, half-hearted (at best), irresponsible and the whole team is suffering for it. I am not out to get the guy; I want nothing more than a chance to stand up and cheer for him. But right now, that is just not the case.
Defenseman Nate Forster suffered a concussion last week and will be out until at least the beginning of March. Wingers Chris Corrinet (Achilles’), Marti Read more»
Wednesday, February 6Cincinnati 1 – Wheeling 3
The Cyclones made their final visit of the season to Wheeling and the Nailers looked to avenge a 1-0 home loss to Cincinnati just six days earlier. Dylan Gyori started the scoring for the Nailers at 1:44 of the opening period to give the Nailers a 1-0 lead. J.P. Soucy and Chris Wells assisted on the goal. In the second period the Nailers extended their lead to 2-0 on a Chris Wells goal at 10:51. David Koci tallied his first point as a Nailer this season by picking up an assist on the Wells goal, Arpad Mihaly got the other assist.
At 16:45 of the second period the Cyclones scored their lone goal of the game to get the score to 2-1. The Nailers began the third period with a two-man advantage power play and took advantage by scoring the final goal of the game. Gyori scored his second goal of the game to give the Nailers a 3-1 lead and eventual win. Kurt Drummond and J.C. Ruid assisted on the goal. Joel Laing made 31 saves on 32 shots for the win.
Saturday, February 9Wheeling 4 @ Atlantic City 2
This game marked the last visit of the regular season for the Nailers to Atlantic City. The Nailers won for the first time in Boardwalk Hall their last visit, 4-3 in a shootout. Atlantic City took a 1-0 lead just 3:35 into the game on a power play goal. Mark Moore tied the game 1-1 for the Nailers at 15:19 of the opening period with J.C. Ruid assisting. The Boardwalk Bullies out shot the Nailers 14-8 in the second period but neither team managed to break the 1-1 tie. Atlantic City took their second and fi Read more»